Cats are warm and snuggly, so surely in winter they can keep themselves toasty, right? Well, not quite. While some cat breeds, such as the Maine Coon, have coats that make them more resilient in cooler weather, other cats feel the cold just as much as their human owners do. Kittens, older cats, and those that suffer from medical conditions are particularly vulnerable in colder weather. But all cats, if they get cold enough, can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite.
Here are some things cat owners need to remember as we head into the colder months ahead:
- Consider keeping your cats indoors over winter. Even outdoor cats feel the cold and will appreciate being inside.
- Top up your cat’s diet with extra food, particularly if she’s an outdoor cat and still wants to spend time outside. She’ll need the extra energy to keep warm. Chat to your vet about offering your pet vitamin supplements and fish oil to keep her coat in good condition.
- If your cat is old or arthritic, remember the cold weather can leave her stiff and sore. You might want to adjust her climbing toys or make other modifications in the home to make it easier for her to move around the house. Consider moving her bed to a warmer spot and give her an extra blanket.
- Be wary if your cat spends a lot of time in the garage or carport. As the temperature drops your cat might seek shelter in and around your car, so always be aware of your cat’s location before starting the engine in the morning.
- If you have an open fireplace ensure it is screened. Cats will be attracted to the warmth and you don’t want her getting too close. Even if she is safe from sparks, the heat can dry out her skin, making her uncomfortable.
- Ensure her coat is groomed. Matted fur doesn’t protect as well from the cold as a well-groomed coat.